Butte Native Joins FOX News as Military Contributor

Retired Navy Seal said he fired the shots that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden

By Justin Franz

BUTTE — Butte native Rob O’Neill, a retired Navy Seal who said he fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden, has joined Fox News as a contributor.

“It’s incredibly rare to have someone in a television contributor role with his leadership experience and expertise at the fighting unit level,” network chairman and CEO Roger Ailes said in a statement Thursday. “His military insight will be a major asset to the network and we are honored to have him.”

O’Neill was profiled in a Fox News documentary last year in which he identified himself as the man who killed the al-Qaida leader during a 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

He played a role in some of the most consequential combat missions of the post-9/11 era, including three that were the subject of Hollywood movies.

O’Neill was on the 2009 mission to rescue the captain of the merchant ship Maersk Alabama, who was taken hostage by Somali pirates. That episode was featured in the Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips.”

The 2012 film “Zero Dark Thirty,” depicted the CIA’s yearslong hunt for bin Laden and the SEALs raid that killed him.

O’Neill was part of the group that helped retrieve Marcus Luttrell, the sole survivor of a four-man team attacked in 2005 while tracking a Taliban leader in Afghanistan. The Luttrell episode was featured in the 2013 film “Lone Survivor.”

O’Neill was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2012. He has since worked as a speaker and a consultant and is involved in charities that help military veterans and their families. He is scheduled to speak at a Leadership Montana event at the Helena Civic Center on March 20.

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